Tuesday, November 16, 2004

It's a Lancer!

I came full circle with my shopping for cars. I finally ended up with a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer 1.5 Petrol VXi.

For a long time I thought I would settle for a Fiat Palio. As it turns out, Fiat dealerships have been shutting down faster than you can say their name. There's only one left in Bangalore, and we couldn't find it where it was supposed to be. Hmmm. Besides, I've heard such hugely negative reviews from Palio owners that I just couldn't get myself to consider it seriously anymore.

I looked at Hyundai (oh, how the mighty have fallen!) Getz and Santro. Santro was just too sluggish for my taste. Getz felt a lot better, but the interiors looked like as though they were designed by some garbage can designers. For the price they charge, it is quite incredible how little they try to please the customer. And not to forget, Hyundai had this deal going for their Santro over Diwali, and all Hyundai dealerships looked like vegetable markets.

So, what's left? It was a toss up between Skoda, Lancer and Honda City. Honda because all the cars seemed to come with a high likelihood of problems further down the road. Hondas at least seemed to do better here elsewhere in the world. And then it turned out that Honda makes you wait several months before delivering the car to you. That's just outright stupid. Out with Honda.

Skoda... 15.7 lakhs was just a teeny bit too much. So I thought I'll actually test drive a Lancer. The dealer (Southern Motors) was a little green -- showed me the wrong car, wrong color, didn't know the prices etc. But what I found to my liking was that the car felt quite ok in terms of power and design. It's not a sports car by far. But it does come with a 3 year maintenance program. The price was much more attractive than a Skoda Octavia RS. Delivery is being promised to be quick. All of a sudden stars seemed to align well for Lancer, and I made the plunge.

Luckily they had a deal to reduce the price by some 40k and throw in a CD changer. Now I am waiting for the car to arrive in the next three days... Till then, I stay at the mercy of the auto drivers and the City Taxi wallahs. Just three more days.

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